There is a transparent reality in SF politics that neither our politicians nor newspapers discuss: the town has changed, is changing fast, and without authority, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse in Gavin Newsom’s absence (a period that by election day will have been really three years, since he spent at least the last two years campaigning for his new job).
Some of these changes are in policy that created new demographics, such as the Twitter Giveaway, while some are demographic changes that have driven policy. No politician wants to talk about the changes in policy wrought by Gavin Newsom’s period that fall into the former category, and few new residents want to talk about the latter.
Few are changes like last month’s Urban Gardening rezoning: local efforts to maintain the integrity of San Francisco. I was touched to see Antonio Roman-Alcala in the photo-op on the City’s website, standing behind Interim Mayor Lee, and applauding as he signed the document.
Some newly proposed changes sound exciting: Treasure Island Development, basketball and football stadia, but unchecked and without transparency or authority, any problems that arise from such changes don’t receive the attention they are due equally.
Meanwhile, hundreds and thousands are being ground down by the changes and have felt unheard. That is why for a decade the progressive left has been represented by the screaming obscenities of Chris Daly and the hand-wringing winging of Tim Redmond at the Guardian. A reformist attitude about our government is long overdue.
We must force our politicians and our new neighbors to address the changes in real terms, and we must restate that there are San Francisco values that are unique to our City – compassion, tolerance and a welcoming embrace. I fear repercussions are not being discussed and the need for important adaptations thus goes unheeded.
More, in these areas of tension – salaries, pensions and benefits that are too high, taxation that’s inequitable, an increasing cost of living and a deficit economy – we are speeding up to create patchwork solutions that cut broad swaths, rather than slowing down to identify and deal with root causes.
Defining SF is something few people want to do because of the socio-political risk and the fundamentally authoritative posture it requires. I wouldn’t dare try to be the aesthetic or cultural interpreter of our incredible City. But I do know it and feel it everyday, and I think that since Gavin left, we are like a ship adrift.
We must begin to poll San Franciscans more actively with current tools to comprehend our makeup now, and the exact nature of our socio-political consciousness and we must protect the many hundreds and thousands who are being eliminated from discourse by our increased “refinement and enlargement” (as Madison would put it).
I am running for office as a strong leader who wants to comprehend our constitution and work for all San Franciscans. I believe we all know what we want our city to be like, but our politicians no longer seem to represent that, whatever that is, to anyone.
This week a few examples brought this to bear for me: Prop G, passed last year, has given the SFMTA unprecedented leverage in what are now being called historic negotiations between MUNI and its employees; Captain Greg Suhr, a 30-year man of the force, who has been involved in one or two serious incidents decried by progressives over the years, was named Police Chief and the current Interim Mayor Ed Lee proposed the first-ever 5-year budget for our City.
In each case, I promptly responded – in most cases in realtime – in advance of any of the other candidates – you can read my thoughts below. I did this because I want followers to see that real leadership knows what’s right and puts it forward quickly to allow colleagues to accept, deny or seek opportunity to adapt it. Leadership starts discourse quickly and accurately then adapts with flexibility to refinement.
I found myself supporting the SFMTA and Police Chief Suhr and decrying Interim Mayor Lee’s Plan and thus realized that mine is a new philosophy for SF. It isn’t Democratic or Republican or Libertarian or etc. It is responsive to what is actually happening and untethered to any special interest. Coalition building will be the result thus of deliberating upon competing views between these vested interests, while being outside of them, being critical, smart and for the people. I am proud to suggest this because I truly believe it is what we need to move forward as a City and retain our values, which are unique in the country and maybe the world.
My campaign is one of inclusion, but I am attempting to project a strong, decisive image because I feel this is what our City sorely needs. I do not see that charismatic strength of leadership in the other candidates. We must be muscular, physical and responsive to the problems, not fixed on setting up 5-year plans for corporate cronies. I am stern and focused, an analyst ready to work restructuring our economy and City for sustainable, solvent growth at an easy pace that doesn’t grind out precious resources or residents.
Thank you to all the new followers this week. We are increasing in number and I very much appreciate your interest and support.